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Moscow Zoo Hopes Visitors Will Help Rare Red Panda Fight Loneliness

A red panda is coming to the Moscow Zoo.

Animal lovers visiting the Moscow Zoo this week will be able to see, for the first time, a rare red panda that was brought over to Russia from Ireland last month.

Zoo director Anna Kachurovskaya said the red panda — which despite its name looks more like a fox than a bear — would be visible to visitors halfway through this week, adding a deal to bring over a second red panda next year was still ongoing, state-run RIA Novosti news agency reported Monday.

The animal was kept in quarantine under medical supervision for two weeks after being brought over from Dublin Zoo in Ireland in mid October but the zoo director earlier said the panda was in good health.

Kachurovskaya told the TASS news agency in October that the 1-1/2-year old panda would live on its own and that "the numerous visitors to the municipal zoo would help it to cope with the loneliness."

Red pandas, which are only slightly larger than domestic cats, are extremely elusive and there are only believed to be about 10,000 of the animals left in the wild, according to World Wildlife Fund estimates.

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